Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Found My Thrill

I walk north, across Broadway, down the big hill, onto the track where I have tentatively started running again, onto the bus. My accordion is a heavy bulk on my back but I have time to snap a picture as I walk; red berries against a brown background. It's January, but I am bare-legged as I walk. A testament both to the mildness of our winters here and to the heat of seniors homes, which is where my accordion and I are headed today. I learned my lesson after the first few visits: wear as little as decently possible or perish in a pool of your own sweat! 
The home I'm playing at is a religious one; the staff are kind and the residents are the usual mix of avid and comatose. It is a birthday party: the lodge has a monthly party and celebrates the birthdays of everyone born in that particular month with music and cake. Wayne introduces each "celebrant", and also takes a moment to acknowledge the centenarians in the crowd. Wow, there are a number of people in the audience (all women, unsurprisingly; women live longer) who are over sixty years older than me, and I'm no longer a spring chicken. Some of the elders take a well-earned nap, but I hear a strong baritone singing along to "Blueberry Hill", and when I swing into "Hey Good-Lookin'" two ladies on my left clap and harmonize with glee. I try to pick a mix of unknowns and singalongs. "Danny Boy", which I have grown to like, always gets 'em. But the rock-'n'roll/country numbers like "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Oh Lonesome Me" get enthusiastic responses too. I am reminded again that unless they are the really old ones, today's seniors grew up listening to Chuck Berry and Elvis (time to add some of the King to my playlist I guess). 
When I get home I decide to take the old dog to the corner store with me, since bladder/bowel control are becoming things of the past for him these days. Probably the same for some of the folks I played for this afternoon, sadly. 
Waiting patiently to go back inside again.

You know what, though? I took him to the park this morning and he was a firecracker. Up to his old tricks; even did my favourite, where he grabs a big stick and manages to get the end of it wedged in under his collar so he can wrestle it into "submission" all by himself. Happy grin, bounce in his step. Amazing what makes us shed the years: a quick jaunt in the park, a 65 year-old chart-topper and we shed our layers of years and become young again, if only for a few minutes. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Epiphanies and Anniversaries

Dammit, body. You were supposed to spring into action around Epiphany, ready to start a new year of eating right and exercising hard. Instead...

It's been a hard week. Over a week, in fact, of being a congested, tired, achy, brain-foggy mess. At least I can console myself that everyone else in the city also has this virus right now. But worse, I started to feel my mood tipping into a dark place it hadn't been for a long time... hard not to feel that way when you're sick and the numbers in your bank account are slipping down past the safety zone, with no big job to push them back the other way. I was starting to feel as if I was standing on the crumbling edge of a cliff. I was/am too tired to exercise, too sick to watch every little thing I ate, too broke to afford a Grand Gesture or a fancy event to cheer myself up. The nagging voice of self-doubt started creeping in: How could I be loveable, with my straggly uncut hair showing months of roots (and grey), my belly rounded from holiday overindulgence, my tissue-reddened nose and glassy tired eyes? How will I ever make a living making music? Would I be forced to live forever as my brother's tenant, unable to afford my own apartment? Had I made the wrong decision in cutting myself off from the summer job and northern towns I love so much?

When my guy offered me a small, easy photography gig with a bit of money attached, I grew insecure and snappish, sure that I couldn't do what he needed, although he assured me that it was a simple job. Although I ended up doing it, I was needy and grumpy about the whole thing.
I decided we needed a date night, since I'd hardly seen my sweetheart since New Year's Eve. Although I'm still feeling gross, I rallied- 2 nights ago- and dressed up. Pretty skirt, classy fishnets with the seam, even curly hair, because I know he likes it. He called: he was feeling stir-crazy and wanted to get out. Maybe we could meet up earlier and go for a ride on the bike before dinner? I started seething, thinking of having to change out of my carefully-chosen outfit. I'd wanted to feel dressed-up and civilized, not climb on the back of a motorbike in the cold evening air... I snapped at him, unwilling to bend, to re-write the script in my head. Then I called back and apologized for snapping at him- "Did you snap at me?" he asked, puzzled. Again, the script I was writing in my head, the one called I Am A Terrible Girlfriend And He's Probably Going To Leave Me Tomorrow, was completely different from what was going on in his head, where he was feeling bad for being irritable at me because he'd had a frustrating day, and was just looking forward to seeing me and maybe taking me out for a spin because he knows I love riding on the back of his motorbike whenever I get the chance.

We met. His eyes gleamed at the skirt, the stockings and the curls. He parked the bike and we walked- me mincing a bit in unaccustomed heels- to the cheap but fun place I'd picked for us to eat at. And even though the bike broke down (later) and the movie we'd picked to go to was sold out, we managed to make our own fun. We always do. And the black mood that had sat with me for days slowly lifted. He loves being with me. He loves that I know the words for obscure things (he can't get over the fact that I knew that the word for a monk's shaved head is a tonsure). He drools at my fishnetted legs and curled hair, but is equally inclined to say "god you're hot" when I'm standing in front of him with bed-head, sweatpants and no makeup. He makes me laugh with his stories and his imitations of his friends, he draws me cartoons and plays my music for his friends; he takes me for motorbike rides and always, ALWAYS gives me the warmest gloves when we do, and insists that I borrow his hats when it's raining. I can't believe it's only been 3 months since we first met (in fact, it's exactly 3 months today).  It's time to stop writing those glum scripts in my head and try to roll with things a bit more. Because this one's a keeper.

One of my favourite bloggers has a post that touches on this as well. You can read it over here; it's what inspired me to write this post.

On a completely different note... the Oscar nominations are out!  I don't know why, but this year, I'm pretty excited about them (well, partly because Grand Budapest Hotel made the list and I think that it was a damn fine movie). Although I probably won't watch the Oscars (I'd rather watch paint dry, honestly), I DO want to spend the next couple of months watching as many of the nominated movies as possible, including the docs and the foreign films. When I do, I'll blog about it here. (I'm definitely inspired by this guy, who also worked up in Barkerville this summer, and who is a smart and funny writer.)  Hey, if nothing else, watching movies at home is something my guy and I both love to do together. And it's dirt cheap.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Two Thousand Fifteen

Happy 2015! Here at the chateau on 12th Avenue we are so very classy that we let cats sit on the table. Actually, it's not that we let her so much, it's that she just does.

In what was surely an auspicious start to the new year, I spent New Year's Eve with some of my best friends, playing music and chatting until the wee hours. I had the pleasure of seeing my guy mingling with my bandmates and getting along famously with them, which was just lovely. In the middle of playing a song I'd look over and see him smiling at me... it doesn't get any better than that. Then my friend Holly turned up because she was en route to Victoria from Salmon Arm and had nowhere to party while in Vancouver. I'd felt some anxiety about telling her she could come, as the uptight side of me thinks it's kind of rude to ask friends to someone else's party... I should've remembered the Law Of Holly, which is that she knows everyone. Within minutes of arriving, she was chatting away with some other people from Victoria and I was chiding myself for being uptight. Midnight came and The night/morning ended with my guy and I eating at the Naam (a 24-hour vegetarian restaurant that's been in Kits forEVER) at 3am, and getting to bed by about 4...

Needless to say it was a lazy day yesterday, although we did manage to go running... straight to East Is East, where we sipped spicy chai and warmed our hands before plunging back into the cold crisp sunshine and buying veggies. My guy had bought a turkey and he was determined to cook it. Although I'd had my fill of over-rich holiday food I could hardly deny him when he wanted to make it for me, and thanks to his paper-bag method of roasting it the turkey was moist, tender and crispy-skinned. I was flabbergasted, since a) I'd kind of assumed he wasn't much for cooking and b) his kitchen is so tiny and overstuffed that you couldn't swing a cat in it, so I didn't think that much good could come out of it. Despite my sleep-deprived bossiness in the micro-kitchen and the aforementioned lack of space we managed to prepare roast turkey, quinoa tabouleh and roasted veggies and still be on excellent terms by the end of it! We watched the appropriately epic The Man Who Would Be King and sipped martinis, and life was good.

Today dawned grey and cold. I unclasped myself from my guy's side and went home, clutching my spare clothes, an accordion, and a bag full of various turkey parts to make into soup... not a very fun journey on the bus (not to mention squeezing into our local Korean grocer for some veg)! I had kind of forgotten what a farce it can be, making sure you have the right instruments, clothes, etc with you when you go to your lover's house, and then dragging them all home again... But I made it, and turkey soup is now packed into several mason jars, some of which will eventually make the journey back to my guy's place the next time I head over there.

Here's hoping that 2015 started as well for you as it did for me.